Brief History Of The Kuria People In Kenya And Tanzania

Among the Bantu-speaking, ethnic groups are the Kuria people. Also called AbaKuria or the BaKuria people, the Kuria people are groups of agriculturalists settling in the Eastern and Western districts of Nyanza, South Western Kenya. In contrast, part of the tribe lived in the Bunda, Serengeti, Tarime, and Musoma, areas of the Mara Region, Northern part of Tanzania.

The UmuKuria in Tanzania is mainly pastoralists, while those in Kenya are agrarians. Their primary language is Kuria or IgiKuria, which is part of the Bantu-speaking language family.
The Kuria tribe are famed for their hunting skills, especially the use of poisonous arrows during tribal wars.

According to the Kurian mythology, Kuria was traced to Monto, who is believed to have birthed all Bantu-speaking tribes.
Monto was said to have given birth to Range who in turn birth Magaiwa, while Magaiwa bore six sons which birthed Kuria;

Munyabasi. Mugumbe. Mutimbaru, Mwirege. Munyamongo. Mukiira .

They were one till the beginning of the 19th century that they were raided by the Maasai tribe , who were on cattle rustling, causing them to spread.

The AbaKuria people are close relatives of the Kisii people and are said to have a population of 609,000, according to the 2006 conducted census. 435,000 of the people are residing in Tanzania, while 174,000 are living in Kenya.

Presently, the Kuria people are mostly agriculturalists who mainly depend on mainly cash crops like; cassava, maize, beans, millets, potatoes, and tobacco, while part of them are cattlemen.

Being a tribe that operates a patrilineal kinship system, property inheritance is passed on to the male lineage, while their marriages are mainly patriarchal.

The AbaKuria were said to have lived in a grass made thatched huts. Polygamy is highly practiced among people.

In Kuria traditions and beliefs, every UmuKuria is expected to indulge in a transformation ritual of passing from childhood to adulthood, known as the Saro – during the Saro ritual, every 13 to 18-year-old UmuKuria according to the clan age bracket for circumcision.

After the ritual, the boys or girls that have undergone the Saro will be taken back home by the villagers singing and dancing, with money being placed on their Shukas (a colored material that the circumcised knot around to allow the blood drop freely on the earth.) According to tradition, after the ritual, he or she automatically has become a man or a woman, ready for marriage.

When a woman marries, her age group will automatically be merged with her husband’s if they happen to be in different age groups. However, marriage between the children of the same age group is prohibited while the uncircumcised will not be married or marry.